Diagnosis, treatment, and services for your everyday medical needs such as flu shots and lab work.
Understanding the symptoms of your child’s illness or injury is extremely important but knowing the different forms of medication and remedies they need to heal their wounds is crucial to their overall health. Most parents know the typical over-the-counter drugs to use for at-home care, however, new drugs come out every year, making it that much more important to stay informed on how to best treat your child in today’s world—in this case nebulizer treatment.
A nebulizer is a device that sprays a fine, liquid mist of medicine. It is often used in younger children who can’t use inhalers. The device has an air compressor, a cup for medicine, and tubing connected to a mouthpiece or mask. Your child breathes in the medicine through the mouthpiece or mask. Each treatment takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. There are several different types of nebulizers used for asthma medicine: jet nebulizers, ultrasonic nebulizers, and mesh nebulizers. It’s important to know that the instructions can be slightly different for each. So, make sure you know how to use your child’s nebulizer.
Nebulizer treatment can be tricky at times which makes the following steps important to know when giving treatment to your child. Still, you should speak to your child’s healthcare provider for specific instructions, but usage will vary depending on the child’s symptoms.
First things first, wash your hands and gather the recommended supplies which are medicine to be nebulized and additional nebulizing solution such as sterile saline. Then, grab your nebulizer set. This is the nebulizer cup, mouthpiece or mask, and tubing to connect to the nebulizer machine. Find a quiet activity for your child to do while he or she sits up for the treatment such as reading a book, drawing, or playing a quiet game.
After this, place the nebulizer on a flat surface, the best place would be on a table or the floor. Then, plug the unit into a wall outlet and connect the tubing to the nebulizer machine, and finally put the medicine into the nebulizer cup and screw the cap on securely. Some medicine may be premixed. Other medicine may need to be measured. Connect the other end of the air tubing to the nebulizer cup, connect the mouthpiece or face mask to the nebulizer cup, and now turn the machine on. It’s important to check to make sure a fine mist of medicine is coming through the face mask or mouthpiece. Most nebulizer cups need to be held upright to work correctly.
Place the mouthpiece in your child’s mouth with their lips sealed around the mouthpiece and make sure to encourage your child to take slow deep breaths in and out of their mouth. The mist should disappear with each breath.
Place the mask over your child’s mouth and nose. The adjustable elastic band may be used to hold the mask in place and make sure your child takes deep breaths in and out for the entire treatment. Instruct your child to continue slow, deep breaths until all the medicine in the nebulizer cup is gone. You may need to tap the sides of the nebulizer cup to make sure all medicine is given. Once you have done this, turn the nebulizer machine off and check your child’s peak flow and make sure to measure it before and after the treatment.
It’s important to stay with your child during their nebulizer treatment and if your child vomits or has a severe coughing spell, stop the treatment. Make sure your child rests for a few minutes, then resume the treatment. Check the filter on the nebulizer machine once a week to ensure it is clean and sanitary. When it becomes discolored, replace it with a new filter. Always keep spare nebulizer supplies at home. Before you run out, call your medical supply company.
Sometimes babies and little kids have trouble getting asthma treatments with a nebulizer. Kids need to sit still for anywhere between 15 to 20 minutes while they breathe in the medicine. Every parent with a toddler knows just how hard that can be.
Using a nebulizer should become a daily routine. Use the nebulizer at the same time each day, so your child knows to expect it. Some parents give treatment time a fun name, to make it exciting. You can do things like read stories, watch movies or play with toys during nebulizer time to make your child feel more comfortable
If your child is afraid of the mask, you can turn it into a game, saying it’s a superhero mask and will give them special powers. Maybe throw on Spider-Man or an Avengers movie so they can really engage with your story. There are also masks you can buy that are shaped like animals and cool creatures!
If your child is old enough, have them help you put the mask on, hold the tubing, and turn the machine on and make sure to congratulate your child for a job well done!
Not every child will handle nebulizer treatment the same which is why listening to your son or daughter is so important. Some children can sit still for long periods of time while others fuss around and will become agitated. Treatment such as this one requires patience and concentration, making you that much more important to the healing process. The good news is if you do find yourselves struggling to use a nebulizer, the experts at Chai Care will happily guide you through all the steps and your child will be healthy in no time!
* Legal disclaimer: The content of this article and the entire Chai Care blog is for educational purposes only; it does NOT constitute medical advice and must not be considered as such. Please consult a medical professional regarding any symptoms or health concerns you or your loved ones.Jan 03, 2023
Pneumonia and Bronchitis are two illnesses that can have many harmful effects. Unfortunately, when children contract it, they experience excoriating pain and if gone untreated, there can be grave consequences. It is important to stay informed and understand the signs of these viruses and illnesses to prevent your child from having any long-term consequences.
Pneumonia is a form of acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs. The lungs are made up of small sacs called alveoli, which fill with air when a healthy person breathes. When an individual has pneumonia, the alveoli are filled with pus and fluid, which makes breathing painful and limits oxygen intake.
Pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death in children worldwide. Pneumonia affects children and families everywhere and even though we have amazing healthcare options in our country, our youth is still very much at risk.
The presenting features of viral and bacterial pneumonia are similar. However, the symptoms of viral pneumonia may be more numerous than the symptoms of bacterial pneumonia. In children under 5 years of age who have a cough and/or difficulty breathing, with or without fever, pneumonia is diagnosed by the presence of either fast breathing or lower chest wall indrawing where their chest moves in or retracts during inhalation (in a healthy person, the chest expands during inhalation). Wheezing is more common in viral infections.
There are several ways Pneumonia can spread. The viruses and bacteria that are commonly found in a child’s nose or throat can infect the lungs if they are inhaled. They may also spread via air-borne droplets from a cough or sneeze. In addition, pneumonia may spread through blood, especially during and shortly after birth. More research needs to be done on the different pathogens causing pneumonia and the ways they are transmitted, as this is of critical importance for treatment and prevention.
While most healthy children can fight the infection with their natural defenses, children whose immune systems are compromised are at higher risk of developing pneumonia. A child’s immune system may be weakened by malnutrition or undernourishment, especially in infants who are not exclusively breastfed. Pre-existing illnesses, such as symptomatic HIV infections and measles, also increase a child’s risk of contracting pneumonia.
Pneumonia is caused by several infectious agents, including viruses, bacteria, and fungi. The most common is streptococcus which is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in children. Hemophilus influenza is the second most common cause of bacterial pneumonia, followed by the respiratory syncytial virus which is the most common viral cause of pneumonia.
Preventing pneumonia in children is an essential component of a strategy to reduce child mortality. Immunization against Hib, pneumococcus, measles, and whooping cough (pertussis) is the most effective way to prevent pneumonia. Adequate nutrition is key to improving children’s natural defenses, starting with exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. In addition to being effective in preventing pneumonia, it also helps to reduce the length of the illness if a child does become ill. Addressing environmental factors such as indoor air pollution (by providing affordable clean indoor stoves, for example) and encouraging good hygiene in crowded homes also reduces the number of children who fall ill with pneumonia. In children infected with HIV, the antibiotic cotrimoxazole is given daily to decrease the risk of contracting pneumonia.
If your child’s symptoms are getting worse if he/she has a fever lasting for a few days, breathing problems, trouble drinking fluids, and new symptoms such as neck stiffness or swollen joints, it is time to call your child’s healthcare provider.
Now, it’s time to talk about Bronchitis. What is acute bronchitis in children? Bronchitis is an inflammation of the large breathing tubes in the lungs. The illness can be short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic). Acute bronchitis means that the symptoms often develop quickly and don’t last long. Most cases are mild.
Acute bronchitis is most often caused by a viral infection. It may also be caused by bacteria or things such as dust, allergens, strong fumes, or tobacco smoke. In children, the most common cause of acute bronchitis is a virus. The illness may develop after a cold or other viral infection in the nose, mouth, or throat (upper respiratory tract). Such illnesses can spread easily from direct contact with a person who is sick. Children that are more at risk for acute bronchitis are kids that deal with chronic sinusitis, allergies, asthma, enlarged tonsils and adenoids, and exposure to secondhand smoke.
Your child’s healthcare provider can often diagnose acute bronchitis with a health history and physical exam. In some cases, your child may need tests to rule out other health problems, such as pneumonia or asthma. These tests may include chest X-rays, pulse oximetry, or sputum and nasal discharge samples.
Treatment will vary depending on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. In nearly all cases, antibiotics should not be used to treat acute bronchitis. That’s because most infections are caused by viruses. Even children who have been coughing for longer than 8 to 10 days often don’t need antibiotics.
It is important to talk with your child’s healthcare provider before giving over-the-counter cough and cold medicine to your child. Most experts do not recommend giving medication to children younger than four years old because it may cause harmful side effects. For children between ages four and six, only use over-the-counter products when recommended by your child’s healthcare provider. It is also important to note, not to give aspirin or medicine that contains aspirin to a child younger than age nineteen unless directed by your child’s provider. Taking aspirin can put your child at risk for Reye syndrome. This is a rare but very serious disorder. It most often affects the brain and the liver.
At the end of the day, pneumonia and bronchitis are two nasty illnesses that are brutal to deal with, but very much treatable. If your child finds themselves struggling with either one, self-care is an option, but Chai Care would be your best option for treatment because our incredible staff of trained experts will supply them with quality care while offering top-notch advice on how to stay healthy!
* Legal disclaimer: The content of this article and the entire Chai Care blog is for educational purposes only; it does NOT constitute medical advice and must not be considered as such. Please consult a medical professional regarding any symptoms or health concerns you or your loved ones.Dec 27, 2022
No matter what season it is, allergies are inevitable. As frustrating as it may be, allergic reactions are a natural part of life even with all the medication and information we have in our modern world. Most allergies are not very harmful but understanding their nuances is an important thing to be aware of because they can lead to certain respiratory issues if gone untreated. This is most certainly the case with children because they are more likely than adults to not know the signs or ignore them due to their adolescent behavior. It’s up to you, the parent, to inform and protect your child from these pesky allergens so let’s explore the different types and symptoms that make your child sneeze, cough, and wheeze.
Allergies are abnormal immune system reactions to specific things that are usually harmless to most people. This causes symptoms that can range from minor to possibly life-threatening. Common allergens include certain foods, dust, plant pollen, and medicines.
If a child with an allergy is exposed to that allergen, their immune system mistakenly believes it’s harming their body. It overreacts, treating the substance as an invader, attempting to fight it off. The immune system makes antibodies called immunoglobulin E to protect the body. These cause certain cells to release chemicals into the bloodstream to defend against the allergen “invader”. It’s the release of these chemicals that causes allergic reactions. Reactions can affect the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, and gastrointestinal tract. Future exposure to that same allergen will trigger this allergic response again.
There are different types of allergies that children may be exposed to. The first would be Airborne Allergies. This would include dust mites, pollen, molds, pets, and cockroaches.
The next would-be food allergies, this is especially common. Fish, eggs, cow’s milk, shellfish, tree nuts, soy, wheat, and sesame are all typical foods that a child may find themselves allergic to. Sometimes a child may have a small cough or light rash but in more serious cases a child can be so allergic to one of these foods that they may need to be rushed to the hospital. It is crucial to be aware of how allergic your child is to one or more of these foods to prevent serious consequences.
Other common allergies would be certain medications, an insect sting, bite, or chemicals. Some cosmetics or laundry detergents can make children break out in hives. Usually, this is because someone has a reaction to the chemicals in these products. Dyes, household cleaners, and pesticides also can cause allergic reactions in some children.
The tendency to develop allergies is often hereditary. They can be passed down through genes from parents to their kids. But just because a parent has allergies doesn’t mean that their kids will get them. And someone usually doesn’t inherit a particular allergy, just the likelihood of having allergies. Some kids have allergies even if no family member is allergic. Unfortunately, kids who are allergic to one thing often are allergic to others.
There are times when children will have cross-reactions. For example, children who are allergic to birch pollen might have symptoms when they eat an apple because that apple contains a protein like one in the pollen. And for reasons that aren’t clear, people with a latex allergy are more likely to be allergic to foods like kiwi, chestnuts, avocados, and bananas.
Some allergens may cause sneezing, a runny nose, itchy eyes and ears, and a sore throat. Other items on the list, such as foods, may cause hives (a red, bumpy, itchy skin rash), a stuffy nose, stomach cramps, vomiting, or diarrhea.
There are times when allergens can cause breathing problems like wheezing and shortness of breath. Some allergens, such as foods, are a problem all year long. But others might bother people only during certain seasons. For instance, you might be allergic to pollen from trees, which is present in the air only in the spring.
If your child sneezes and itches a lot, wheezes, or often gets sick after eating a certain food, they should get checked for allergies. They will ask your child many questions about their health, about the animals and plants in your home, and about the foods they eat. Your child’s answer will provide clues about what they might be allergic to, and the healthcare provider may ask them to stay away from a pet or stop eating a certain food to see if their symptoms go away.
The healthcare provider may send your youngster to an allergist, a special healthcare provider who helps people who have allergies. An allergist may give them a scratch test to see if a tiny bit of an allergen will cause a reaction on their skin. They will feel a quick pinch when the doctor makes the scratch or scratches. If they are allergic, one or more spots will become bumpy, itchy, and red.
Is it a cold or allergies? Both conditions can cause watery eyes, a runny nose, and sneezing. This may require some investigating to see which one you are experiencing, but if you take over-the-counter drugs and they don’t seem to be doing the trick, there is a good chance you have a cold and not an allergic reaction.
Many people mistake chronic hives for allergies. This is understandable as some allergic reactions cause hives, which are characterized by itchy patches of skin that turn into swollen red welts. Hives may be triggered by pet dander, foods such as cow’s milk, tree nuts, and shellfish, certain medications, or pollen, and tend to go away as the allergic symptoms are treated. However, chronic hives last for more than six weeks and may last months or years. If the cause cannot be identified even after a detailed history and testing, the condition is called chronic idiopathic urticaria. Chronic hives may also be associated with thyroid disease, other hormonal problems, or in very rare instances, cancer.
Eczema is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition, and although sufferers may develop asthma and sensitivities or allergies to foods and airborne allergens, eczema itself is not an allergy. However, the skin appears very dry and inflamed, resulting in a similar appearance to allergic contact dermatitis, which is a skin allergy that occurs when a person has exposure to a particular material.
A heat rash is often mistaken for an allergy. The best thing to do is avoid strenuous exercise when it is very warm, use air conditioning and fans in hot weather, take cool showers and baths, dry your skin thoroughly after bathing, wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothes, and drink plenty of fluids to cool the body and to keep hydrated.
If you regularly wake up with a dry throat and tired feeling, you might wonder if you have an allergy when the culprit could be sleep apnea. It is not age-specific, nor does it affect only overweight people. Signs of sleep apnea would be feeling unrefreshed after a full night’s sleep, frequent awakenings during the night, excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue, being overweight, restless sleep, waking up with headaches, and nighttime acid reflux.
People often confuse food intolerance with a food allergy, but there’s a big difference. Food intolerance may often mimic a food allergy by causing nausea and vomiting, but it is not life-threatening. Children may experience symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, or fatigue. An intolerance is not an immune response, and the symptoms generally relate to stomach issues. While an intolerance to a food may make you miserable, a true food allergy can be potentially life-threatening.
Insect bites can sometimes mimic hives, a skin allergy that can occur in response to ingested allergens, so it’s easy for people to misdiagnose themselves. Like hives, insect bites may appear as raised, itchy bumps, either red or skin-colored.
Sadly, there is no cure for allergies, but symptoms can be managed. The best way to deal with them is to avoid allergens. You should speak to your kids often about the allergy itself and the reactions they can have if they consume or encounter the allergen. It is also important to tell your child’s teachers, family members, and parents of your child’s friends, about your child’s allergy.
If avoiding environmental allergens isn’t possible or doesn’t help, healthcare providers might prescribe medicines, including antihistamines, eye drops, and nasal sprays. In some cases, medical professionals recommend allergy shots to help desensitize a child to an allergen. But these are only helpful for allergens such as dust, mold, pollens, animals, and insect stings. They are not used for food allergies.
At some point, your child is going to experience the annoyance of allergies. It may be minor sniffling and coughing, or something more serious like a tree nut or shellfish allergy but nine out of ten times over-the-counter drugs or antibiotics will do the trick and if that doesn’t work the professionals at Chai Care can take a deeper look. Our trained staff is fully equipped to give a proper diagnosis and supply excellent advice so your child can live a proactive and healthy life!
* Legal disclaimer: The content of this article and the entire Chai Care blog is for educational purposes only; it does NOT constitute medical advice and must not be considered as such. Please consult a medical professional regarding any symptoms or health concerns you or your loved ones.
We can all recall a time when we as children had awful stomach pain or aches. Chances are you were hunched over, gripping your stomach in agony, claiming someone was stabbing your intestines with a knife. Dramatic and exaggerated, but when you’re a kid, everything is theatrical. Some of those incidents were no big deal. Just a minor cramp or nausea from eating too much candy before bed, but other times it may have been serious, so much so that medical attention was needed due to a parasite or appendicitis. Abdominal pain in children can vary from minor to major in the blink of an eye, which is why it is so important to be vigilant of the signs and symptoms.
If your child is experiencing stomach pain, it is most likely due to indigestion, constipation, stress, irritable bowel syndrome, appendicitis, or a stomach bug. These are the most common complaints that a child will have regarding stomach issues and fortunately, over counter drugs or a quick visit to your healthcare provider will help. However, stomach pain is more complicated than you might think. Depending on where the child is feeling the pain, this can change the diagnosis and the severity of the injury.
Stomach pain around the belly button is the most common complaint among children and in most cases, the least significant. The culprit of this discomfort is typically attributed to stress or eating something unagreeable. The best action to take for your child who is struggling with this would be to encourage them to rest, check to see if they need to poop, suggest drinking a glass of water, or offer a distraction of sorts. Reading a soothing story or playing a light-hearted game can take their mind off the pain and before they know it, they’ll forget all about it!
Pain in the lower right side of the abdomen can be much more serious, potentially hinting that your child may have appendicitis. Appendicitis is a serious medical emergency that can cause sudden, severe pain in the lower right part of your child’s stomach. If your child complains of stomach pain that moves to the lower right side of the belly, watch for other symptoms including fever, nausea, vomiting, difficulty passing gas, loss of appetite, constipation, and diarrhea. If you suspect that your child has appendicitis, contact your healthcare provider immediately. Early diagnosis decreases the risk of a ruptured appendix or serious complications.
If your child is complaining about pain on the left side of their stomach, it could be caused by constipation or a more severe condition like pancreatitis. Most of the time, stomach pain on the left side is due to something mild, like constipation. Rarely, it can be a sign of something more serious. Your child’s healthcare provider can work with you to better understand the pain and symptoms your child experiences to ensure they receive an accurate diagnosis.
If your child is complaining about pain in their upper abdomen, they may be experiencing indigestion. Telltale signs of indigestion include pain in the upper belly, nausea, bloating, burping, and heartburn. It is also worth mentioning that if your child has pain in the upper right side of their abdomen, this could also be a sign of gallstones. Gallstones are more common in adults than in children, but some children may be more at risk for developing gallstones, including children with obesity, children with certain health conditions including sickle cell disease, and children with a family history of gallstone disease.
This is a general term that describes discomfort in children’s upper abdomen. Common symptoms include pain or burning in the area between the breastbone and navel or bloating in the upper abdomen. Most of the time, indigestion will go away on its own and is not considered serious. Prepare smaller meals and try a bland diet. Talk with their healthcare provider if the discomfort persists.
This is an infection marked by watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, pain, and nausea or vomiting. Seek medical attention if your child has a fever of 100.4 F or higher, bloody diarrhea, or significant pain or discomfort. The most important thing to do is to stay well-hydrated.
Constipated children have infrequent bowel movements or hard, dry stools. They may frequently complain of a stomachache, bloating, or discomfort. Talk with their primary care provider if they don’t want to eat, are losing weight, have bloody stools, or are having repeated episodes of constipation.
When children are stressed or anxious, their bodies release the hormone cortisol into the blood. This can trigger abdominal cramps and discomfort.
Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix. It causes sudden pain that begins around the navel and then moves to the lower right abdomen. The pain worsens if children cough, walk or make other jarring movements. Appendicitis pain typically increases and eventually becomes severe. Appendicitis is a medical emergency, and these children should receive immediate medical attention.
Appendicitis is one of the more common reasons your child may need surgery. The appendix is a small, dead-end tube leading from a part of the bowel. If this tube gets blocked, it can cause an infection. Appendicitis can happen at any age but is rare in young children.
The pain often starts in the middle of the tummy and moves down low on the right side. The stomach becomes sore to the touch. This is often worse with coughing and walking around. A child with appendicitis often shows signs of being unwell such as fever, refusing food, vomiting, or diarrhea.
If you are concerned your child may be developing appendicitis, visit your healthcare provider. An operation is often needed to remove the appendix, although in some cases the problem will settle without surgery.
Intestinal obstruction is a blockage that prevents food or liquid from passing through children’s small intestines or colon. It could be caused by scar tissue, a twisting or narrowing of the intestine, or if they swallow an object. Common symptoms include abdominal pain that comes and goes and is located around or below the navel, constipation, inability to pass gas, swelling of the abdomen, or vomiting. Seek immediate medical attention if children are suspected to have an intestinal obstruction.
Typically, when the problem is obvious there are no tests needed. However, if tests are needed, they may include blood or urine tests, stool samples, or other special tests for further examination. If your child does undergo tests, the healthcare provider should explain the results to you. Some results may take several days to come back, and these results will be sent to your primary care physician.
Stomach pain in children is usually nothing to worry about. But, if your child experiences any of the following symptoms, take your little one to their healthcare provider: diarrhea, pain when urinating, unexplained weight loss, jaundice, blood in stool, and recurrent stomach pain with no clear cause. From there, a medical professional can help you determine how severe the illness is.
Your child’s treatment will depend on what your healthcare provider determines is causing their pain. Treatment may be as simple as sending your child home with advice to rest, take fluids and eat a bland diet. Other treatment options include hospital admission and surgery. A few general suggestions would be to make sure your child gets plenty of rest and have them drink plenty of clear fluids such as cooled boiled water or juice. Do not push your child to eat if they feel unwell. If they are hungry, have them eat bland food like crackers or bananas and place a hot water bag on their stomach.
If your child doesn’t seem to be getting any better and their symptoms have manifested into more severe signs such as vomiting, blood in urine or stool, painful skin rash, fever, or chills, then you should take your child to Chai Care to have them checked out by our skilled medical professionals.
* Legal disclaimer: The content of this article and the entire Chai Care blog is for educational purposes only; it does NOT constitute medical advice and must not be considered as such. Please consult a medical professional regarding any symptoms or health concerns you or your loved ones may have.Dec 15, 2022
It is no secret that children are the most vulnerable people on the planet. Because of their youth and lack of experience, our moral responsibility as adults is to make sure that we are well-informed about various medical emergencies. We can almost expect that there will come a time when we will need to see the signs or symptoms of any minor or serious injuries that a child may experience. Of course, a medical professional will be the one who calls the final shots. However, before seeing a healthcare provider, you, as the parent, will be the one to notice if your son or daughter is experiencing something out of the ordinary. One common injury a child can endure is the development of an abscess.
Painful and warm to the touch, abscesses can virtually show up anywhere on your body. However, the most common sites are in the armpits, areas around the anus and vagina, the base of the spine, around a tooth, and in the groin. It’s also important to note that inflammation around a hair follicle can also lead to the formation of an abscess, which is called a boil.
Unlike other infections, antibiotics alone will not usually cure an abscess. In general, an abscess must be opened and drained for it to improve. Sometimes draining occurs on its own, but generally, it must be opened with the help of a warm compress or by a doctor in a procedure called ‘Incision and Drainage.’
Sadly, kids are more prone to abscesses because they’re less likely to tend and clean their wounds, putting them at risk for these nasty infections. Foreign objects that get inside a wound, like sand or clothing fibers, can also lead to abscesses, as can irritated hair follicles.
The first kind of abscess we’ll discuss is skin abscesses. This is when bacteria get under the surface of your skin, and an abscess forms. This can occur anywhere on the body, although skin abscesses tend to be more common in the underarms, genitals, buttocks, trunk, hands, and feet. When this happens, bacteria will creep underneath your skin and cause an abscess. If you have a minor skin wound, such as a small cut, gash, or a sebaceous gland (oil gland) or sweat gland, this can lead to an abscess as well.
Then there are internal abscesses. These develop inside of the stomach and are caused by an infection reaching tissue deeper within the body. This can occur because of an injury, abdominal surgery, or an infection spreading from a nearby wound or cut. Unfortunately, there are numerous ways an infection can spread in the abdomen and cause an abscess to develop. For example, a lung abscess may form after a bacterial infection in your lungs, such as pneumonia, and a burst appendix can spread bacteria within your abdomen. If your child is experiencing high temperature, increased sweating, chills, pain in their stomach, or loss of appetite and weight, your child may be experiencing an internal abscess.
Lastly, there are tooth abscesses. This is when a pocket of pus that’s caused by a bacterial infection poison one of your teeth. The abscess can occur in different areas near the tooth for different reasons. A periapical abscess occurs at the tip of the root. A periodontal abscess occurs in the gums at the side of a tooth root. A periapical tooth abscess usually occurs because of an untreated dental cavity, an injury, or prior dental work. The resulting infection with irritation and swelling can cause an abscess at the tip of the root. Symptoms to look out for are severe toothaches that spread to the jawbone, neck, and ear, pain with hot and cold temperatures, pain when chewing, fever, swelling in the face, tender or swollen lymph nodes, and foul mouth odor.
Traditionally, dentists will treat a tooth abscess by draining it and getting rid of the infection. They may be able to save your tooth with a root canal treatment. But in some cases, the tooth may need to be pulled. Leaving a tooth abscess untreated can lead to serious, even life-threatening, complications so make sure to take your little one to the dentist ASAP!
The most common way someone may contract an abscess is from infection with staphylococcal bacteria. From there, bacteria enter the body, and the immune system sends white blood cells to fight the infection. This causes swelling at the site of infection and the death of nearby tissue. A cavity is created, which fills with pus to form an abscess. The pus contains a mixture of dead tissue, white blood cells, and bacteria. The abscess may get larger and more painful as the infection continues and more pus is produced. Some types of staphylococcal bacteria produce a toxin called Panton-Valentine leucocidin, which kills white blood cells. This causes the body to make more cells to keep fighting the infection and can lead to repeated skin infections. However, in rare cases, an abscess may be caused by a virus, fungi, or parasites.
Finally, some good news! Most abscesses can be treated at home. If the abscess is small (less than 1 cm or less than a half-inch across), applying warm compresses to the area for about 30 minutes 4 times daily may help. Do not attempt to drain the abscess by squeezing or pressing on it. This can push the infected material into the deeper tissues. Also, do not attempt to stick a needle or other sharp instruments into the abscess center, because you may injure an underlying blood vessel or cause the infection to spread. It’s important to make sure your child avoids touching, pushing, popping, or squeezing the abscess because that can easily spread the infection or push it deeper inside the body, only making things worse. An easy way to prevent spreading the infection is by not letting your child share clothes, towels, washcloths, sheets, or anything that may have touched the abscess.
Even though you can take it upon yourself to treat your little one, seeing a healthcare provider is highly recommended to ensure full safety. The trained professional will be skilled enough to cut open the abscess and completely drain the pus and debris. Once the sore has drained, the doctor may insert some packing into the remaining cavity to allow the infection to continue to drain. It may be kept open for a day or two. A bandage will then be placed over the packing, and you will be given instructions about home care. Most children will feel better immediately after the abscess is drained. If the child is still experiencing pain, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics for home use over the next few days.
Continuing on the good news train, abscesses of all kinds can be prevented by practicing good hygiene. Keep all cuts and wounds clean, dry, and covered with a bandage to protect them from germs. It is also important to teach kids to wash their hands often and well, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t handy, it’s OK to use alcohol-based instant hand sanitizers or wipes.
Fortunately, once treated the abscess should heal and your child will forget all about it. Even though there are rare cases in which abscesses shave led to serious illnesses, the chances of that happening are extremely low if you make sure to follow these simple steps. Abscesses can be nasty, and many people become squeamish at the sight of them, but the staff at Chai Care are trained professionals who can take care of them in no time!